Food

Swine closed to make room for an experimental Coral Gables restaurant. Now it’s closing

The team that opened Ad Lib in February 2019: (l to r) Director of Service, Cristiano Azevedo; Director of beverages, Sam Ross; pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith; chef Jamie DeRosa and sommelier Daniel Toral. By summer 2019 most of this team was gone.
The team that opened Ad Lib in February 2019: (l to r) Director of Service, Cristiano Azevedo; Director of beverages, Sam Ross; pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith; chef Jamie DeRosa and sommelier Daniel Toral. By summer 2019 most of this team was gone.

Ad Lib, the restaurant that 50 Eggs’ owner John Kunkel had hoped would be a Michelin-starred marvel, is closing for good this Friday.

The restaurant was located in the space that formerly was home to Swine, another property in the 50 Eggs portfolio. That pork-centric local favorite in the Gables was shuttered in spite of Kunkel’s claim that it “never had a day it didn’t make money.” Ad Lib was meant to be a chef-driven bistro that would attract Miami’s adventurous diners who were on the hunt for something exciting.

But Ad Lib had a rocky run since opening in February 2019.

The concept was modern American, with an “elevated, yet approachable menu” starring dishes that “reflect a sophisticated playfulness coupled with a thoughtful approach to responsibly sourced meats, local produce and wild-caught fish and seafood.”

The team assembled to run the place were veterans, including two-time James Beard finalist, executive pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith and executive chef/partner Jamie DeRosa, whose resume includes stints with Wolfgang Puck and Geoffrey Zakarian.

But the first sign of trouble came only two months in, when DeRosa either was fired or left (the sides disagree on the account) to “focus on family.” He was quickly replaced in April by Mango Gang OG Norman Van Aken as chef/partner.

But by July, Goldsmith was out as well. According to Goldsmith, Kunkel “wanted to change the parameters of our relationship,” adding that he wanted to use her intermittently for projects such as an upcoming pop-up. Goldsmith balked at the idea.

A month later, Van Aken also parted ways with Ad Lib.

A PR rep confirmed the news and said Friday will be the restaurant’s last service.

”We are evolving and after a brief closure, we’re looking forward to introducing a specialized venue for new restaurant development and private events within the space next year,” Kunkel said.

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